Australian Unity expands Specialist Disability Accommodation portfolio with first acquisition in Canberra

28 October 2022

Tags: Media

Australian Unity’s Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Fund has acquired 11 apartments in the new Parc development, in Macquarie, Canberra for $7.15 million.

Ten of the apartments are certified to high physical support specifications and designed to meet the unique living needs of Australians living with disability. The 11th apartment provides office and overnight accommodation for support workers on site.

Australian Unity has leased the apartments to registered SDA provider Vera Living under a fixed head-lease arrangement for 10 years, with four 5-year options. Under the agreement, Vera Living will tenant the properties and ensure that high-quality support services are provided through its collaboration with a reputable Supported Independent Living (SIL) provider.

The acquisition takes the assets and pipeline commitments of the SDA Fund to ~$260 million. This currently includes an additional ~240 dwellings (consisting of 420 SDA places) under construction, at a forecast total cost of~$150 million.

Jacob Edwards, Fund Manager of Australian Unity’s Specialist Disability Accommodation Fund said the property is highly desirable for SDA participants thanks to its location, quality, and amenities of the building and local area.

“In partnership with Vera Living, we are proud to be increasing the number of high-quality SDA dwellings available to people living with disability in Canberra and the surrounding areas.  

“The ACT and Canberra has long had unmet SDA demand with limited new SDA delivered in the past 12 months so we are particularly pleased to provide housing for people who may previously have been living in unsuitable settings. These apartments will therefore play a significant role in increasing the wellbeing of NDIS participants,” Mr Edwards said. 

Jacob Collier, Managing Director of Vera Living said Vera Living had found a like-minded partner in Australian Unity.

“Our two organisations both support the health and wellbeing of Australians. Together we’re proud to grow the number of thoughtfully liveable homes that people living with disability can enjoy,” he said.

“These SDA apartments in the Parc development are in an excellent location that is well-serviced by public transport, with regular wheelchair-accessible bus services stopping just 50 metres away. The surrounding area is easily accessible, with parks, community and healthcare facilities all located nearby. These factors will enable more NDIS participants to enjoy a high quality-of-life and live as independently as possible.”

Australian Unity’s SDA Fund has a strong pipeline of developments, turnkey and off the plan contracts. A portion of this pipeline will be delivered in partnership with Vera Living, accounting for ~50 SDA places.

With operating assets yielding strongly and very high occupancy, the Fund is well positioned to achieve its return objectives and realise future growth opportunities. The Fund will open its next capital raising program in 2023 to raise further equity to support its continued growth.


About the Australian Unity Specialist Disability Accommodation Fund

Australian Unity established the Specialist Disability Accommodation Fund in 2020. The Fund invests in accessible residential property that has been purpose built for people with severe functional impairments or very high support needs. The Fund is a landlord only, with SDA participant’s rent paid from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) on behalf of Participants. Since inception in April 2020, the Fund has raised ~$80 million of equity. This capital, alongside the Fund’s debt facility, has been used to acquire 65 dwellings (consisting of 80 SDA places). Once the development pipeline is complete and contracted acquisitions are settled, the Fund will house more than 400 people with a disability who would otherwise be living in an unsuitable setting. There is ~7.25 years remaining in the expected ten-year investment term.  Due to growing interest in the Fund from institutional investors, we are developing options to provide access to the portfolio for institutional investments over $50 million via separately managed accounts and other alternatives.

About Australian Unity

Established in 1840, Australian Unity is a member-owned wellbeing company with 260,000 members and more than 700,000 customers. Our range of health, wealth and care products and services provides member, customer and community value that is supportive of personal and community wellbeing.

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